A mother's mission - turning loss into hope
Kelezo Nganga, who lives in the Lui River area, Zambia, knows just how terrible malaria can be. She lost her son Denny to the disease when he was just six years old.
Kelezo couldn't bear the thought of other mothers suffering like she did. That's why she decided to become a volunteer Malaria Control Agent (MCA) and help her community fight the disease.
I met Kelezo on a recent visit to Zambia. As soon as she began talking, I knew I had to share her heartbreaking yet inspirational story with you.
It all started in May 2002. Kelezo's son was suffering from a fever and headaches. But because she didn't recognise the symptoms as malarial, she was reluctant to make Denny walk for four hours to the nearest health clinic. Eventually he became so ill, Kelezo carried him there on her back. But by then, it was too late.
She said, 'Denny died because we were ignorant at that time of the signs of malaria.'
A vital role
Thanks to her work as an MCA, Kelezo has since learnt all about the danger signs of the disease. Her role involves providing communities in her region with life-saving knowledge about malaria prevention, its symptoms and when to seek medical help. She also distributes the chemically treated mosquito nets that people like you help provide.
The knowledge Kelezo gained through her work was put to the test when her second child, Eric, fell ill.
'My job made me realise that Eric was also suffering from malaria. I took him to the clinic where it was found it was the disease which was bothering him. After treatment, Eric became well and never again suffered from malaria.'
Since Christian Aid launched its malaria programme in Zambia, cases of the disease in Kelezo's area have plummeted from 200-300 in a month to just eight so far this year. Staff at the local clinic say this is all thanks to the work of MCAs like her.
Our volunteers can only do what they do because of supporters like you. So please keep helping them to deliver the much-needed nets.